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Heathrow's Olympics send-off

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 02:01

Aug. 13 - Olympic athletes depart from London's Heathrow airport while enjoying a send off at a special Games terminal set up to resemble a London park. Ciara Sutton reports.

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From the Olympic park to a London park at Heathrow Airport. The Games may be over, but the show continues as athletes heading home pose with actors dressed as bearskin guards. The pop-up terminal of 'all things London' is open for just just three days as the airport bids bon voyage to a mass of competitors and officials. The athletes have even been asked to write their best memories of the games on labels and attach them to a tree in the the centre of the terminal. (SOUNDBITE) (English) US OLYMPIC ATHLETE, HIGH JUMP, BRIGETTA BARRETT, SAYING: "This alone, like our very own terminal. Things like this are a very London-esque touch, but it was also a step above anything else I have every experienced. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SWEDISH OLYMPIC ATHLETE, SAILING TEAM, LISA ERICSON, SAYING: "This terminal is cool. I've never seen anything like it. I was so shocked when we came in - there was grass and it looked like an English garden. It was fun." Heathrow's owner, BAA, expected Europe's busiest airport to see around 116,000 departures by the end of Monday - well above the 95,000 average. Emma Gilthorpe is Director of Regulation. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR OF REGULATION AT BRITISH AIRPORTS AUTHORITY, EMMA GILTHORPE, SAYING: "This is all about making sure the athletes have a good time, but also it's about making sure that our business as usual passengers have a really strong passenger experience as well. We've got some fantastic things happening in our other terminals as well. Lots of theatre, we'll have a guard of honour for all of the athletes going into their terminals so lots of excitement and lots of pride here at Heathrow." Athletes catching the Eurostar from London's Kings Cross were serenaded out by a Beatles tribute band. And it wasn't just about ensuring a smooth ride home. Passenger transport operators are keen to make sure the end of the Olympics isn't the end of the visitor boom. With a price tag of more than 14 million dollars, ensuring new visitors come to London now the Games is over is vital. With a population of almost 8 million concerns about travel chaos ahead of London 2012 were understandable. The fact that they didn't materialise is, say some, worth celebrating almost as much as medal success. Ciara Sutton, Reuters.

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Heathrow's Olympics send-off

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 02:01